Oakland

Produce stand opens Friday at county office

A produce stand selling fresh fruits and vegetables opens Friday at the county Social Services Agency's office.

A similar farm stand opened at the agency's Hayward office in December and is open Thursdays.

The sites were chosen to give low-income residents the chance to buy healthy produce at the same place they get CalFresh benefits, California's version of food stamps, though the stand is open to everyone.

The produce stand, with the slogan "Fresh Produce at 'Dirt' Cheap Prices," is a joint project of the social services agency and Dig Deep Farms and Produce. It will be open 10 a.m. to noon Fridays at Thomas L. Berkley Way and San Pablo Avenue, weather permitting.

-- Rebecca Parr, Staff

SAN LEANDRO

Construction worker crushed by machinery

A construction equipment company worker died Thursday morning after being crushed by machinery in what state officials say appears to be an industrial accident.

Police and emergency crews were dispatched at 9:30 a.m. to Volvo Construction Equipment & Services at 1944 Marina Boulevard, just south of Interstate 880 for a report of an injured employee, a San Leandro police dispatcher said.

The employee, a 48-year-old mechanic from Castro Valley, had been crushed by heavy equipment and was pronounced dead at the scene, said Peter Melton, spokesman for the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health -- the agency investigating the worker's death.


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So far investigators have determined the employee was killed by a front-end wheel loader -- machinery that moves dirt and pushes heavy objects.

"It appears he was underneath it servicing it and somehow it fell on him," Melton said.

An autopsy is schedule for Friday, an Alameda County Coroner's Office spokeswoman said. His identity was not released, pending notification of his next of kin.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

BERKELEY

Former grad student instructor arrested

A onetime UC Berkeley graduate student instructor was arrested after police say they believe he slipped a substance into a woman's drink and later sexually assaulted her.

Timothy Rodriguez, 40, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of unlawful sexual penetration and possession of controlled substances, about 2½ weeks after police said he assaulted the woman. UC Berkeley police said the suspect met the 22-year-old college student at a bar near the campus on Jan. 25, and that the two had drinks.

The woman left her drink unattended for a short period of time, then became intoxicated and ill after she returned, police said. Rodriguez then took the woman back to his residence in the University Village at Albany, where police said the alleged assault occurred.

Rodriguez's arraignment was scheduled for Thursday afternoon after he posted a $120,000 bail from the Berkeley jail.

Police advised students and other adults not to leave drinks unattended and to be wary of accepting drinks from people they don't know. They also encouraged using a buddy system while socializing and advised them to look for signals that a date rape drug may have been consumed. Those signs include dizziness and/or nausea, memory loss, breathing difficulties and trouble moving.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

Oakland

Power outage after stolen truck hits pole

A stolen pickup truck crashed into some parked cars and a power line pole across the street from Highland Hospital in East Oakland Thursday morning, causing outages to 1,800 area homes and businesses, authorities said.

The wreck happened at 5:12 a.m. at the intersection of 14th Avenue and East 30th Street.

Authorities said the driver of the U-Haul truck was speeding in the northbound lanes and hit four parked cars before slamming into the pole causing a distribution power line to come down.

The driver was taken to Highland, police said. His injuries and condition were not immediately available.

Police said the truck was stolen Wednesday in Vallejo. The suspect, whose name was not released, has addresses in Vallejo and Oakland, police said.

By 1 p.m. power had been restored to about 1,700 customers, according to PG&E. The company estimated that the remaining customers would have power again by 6:30 p.m.

-- Harry Harris, Staff

hayward

Prospective buyers robbed at gunpoint

Armed robbers held up two prospective buyers outside an auto auction Wednesday afternoon and made off with $1,800 in cash, police said.

About 1:30 p.m., two 28-year-old male business partners from Stanislaus County drove to Desert View Auto Auction in the 2300 block of Industrial Parkway West and parked in front of the South Hayward business, Sgt. Mark Ormsby said.

A burgundy vehicle pulled up behind the business partners and, as they got out of their car, two men got out of the other vehicle and approached them. Another man who sat in the driver's seat of the burgundy vehicle, stayed seated, Ormsby said.

Police said one of the men held a semi-automatic handgun and told the business partners to empty their pockets. The armed man then reached into one of the business partner's bluejeans' pockets, grabbed a wad of cash and then took it, Ormsby said.

The two men got back into the burgundy vehicle and sped off eastbound toward Interstate 880, police said.

No one was injured, but the men made off with $1,800 in cash, Ormsby said.

Police described the armed suspect as Hispanic, in his mid-to-late 20s, 5-foot-7, 175 pounds with a light complexion, a mustache and a bald head. He wore a hooded black sweatshirt and dark blue jeans.

Complete descriptions of the other two suspects were not available.

Police are asking anyone with information about the armed robbery to call 510-293-7034.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff